A Christina Stead Reader
edited by Jean B. Read
"Christina Stead has been described as one of the greatest living writers in the English language and has been compared to such widely differing authors as Daniel defoe, D.H. Lawrence and Validimir Nabokov. This volume of selections from her major works spans a distinguisghed career of over forty years. The selections are arranged in chronological order beginning with her first book, The Salzburg Tales, and ending with her most recently published novel, Miss Herbert. This comprehnsive sample demonstrates the richness and diversity of a writer of unique vision and power."
"Magnificent...She's a formidable and entirely individual writer' - Claire Tomalin, New Statesman
"Christina Stead is a kind of dark star among modern novelists ... an immense compassionate vitality and an enjoyment of life" - Anne Duchene, Times Literary Supplement
"It is now generally acknowledged that Christina Stead is one of the most distinguished novelists writing in English ... her novels are great to read - long, rich, funny, moving, utterly surprising" - Helen Yglesias, New York Times Book Review
First Paragraph from the Editor's Note:
In making the selections for this book, we have been fortunate to be able to draw on all of Christina Stead's published works, with the exception of The Man Who Loved Children, her well-known masterpiece, and The Little Hotel, which was published in 1975.
The selections are arranged in chronological order according to the publication dates of the books from which they were taken. They begin with the author's first work, The Salzburg Tales (1932) and end with her most recently published novel, Miss Herbert (1976), covering the more than forty years of her career as a writer.
During these years Miss Stead has lived in Australia (where she was horn and recently returned to live), in Europe, England and the United States. These places have shaped and informed the background of her novels: the island life on the fringes of Sydney in For Love Alone; the bleak, impoverished mining village in the north of England in Dark Places of the Heart; the world of New York City in Letty Fox; the beauty and serenity of rural America in the section called "White- house" in The People with the Dogs.
When The Man Who Loved Children appeared in 1940, Rebeeca West said that Christina Stead was "one of the few people really original we have produced since the First World War." In an essay on her novels, Elizabeth Hardwick speaks of her "prodigious talent for fiction" and her "storytelling abundance". she describes her style as one "of remarkable uniqueness and strength, of truly radical power and authenticity." With the publication of House of All Nations in 1972, a reviewer said of Miss Stead: "She is one of the important modern novelists and everything she has written should immediately be made available."
The Salzburg Tales
Seven Poor Men of Sydney
The Beauties and Furies
House of All Nations
For Love Alone
Letty Fox: Her Luck
A Little Tea, a Little Chat
The People with the Dogs
Dark Places of the Heart (Cotters England)
The Rightangled Creek: A Sort of Ghost Story
Miss Herbert (The Suburban Wife)
From the Angus and Robertson hardback edition, 1981.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2004 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Christina Stead page.
Last modified: January 10, 2004.